Let’s Work Together: Police Views on Collaborating with Recovery Coaches


Let’s Work Together: Police Views on Collaborating with Recovery Coaches
Laurie T Becker
Sean P. Varano
Date published
Fighting on the front lines against the opioid crisis for over three decades now, law enforcement agencies are increasingly shifting away from a strictly enforcement-based approach in favor of a public health model focused on both prevention and intervention. Embracing this new approach, many police departments are collaborating with non-traditional law enforcement partners, such as recovery coaches. Although many police departments across the nation are currently engaging in, or strongly considering, a police-recovery coach collaboration, there is little research regarding police attitudes toward this type of partnership. Therefore, this study examines police views on incorporating recovery coaches into the police station for collaboration as well as what variables predict positive views toward this collaboration. To answer these questions, officers from three New England states were electronically surveyed. Findings showed that approximately half of officers supported recovery coaches working in the police station, with variables related to demographics, addiction exposure, and views on policing predicting officer viewpoints toward collaborating with recovery coaches in this manner. The findings of this study are not only valuable to police leaders as they contemplate partnering with members of the recovery community, but to the larger criminal justice system as successful police-recovery coach partnerships can positively impact the success of individuals who are suffering from substance use disorder in their reentry efforts.
Laurie T. Becker is a doctoral student studying criminal justice in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research interests include policing, opioids, and the intersection between policing and public health.
Sean P. Varano is a professor of criminal justice in the School of Justice Studies at Roger Williams University. His research interests including policing and community-based crime prevention strategies.